Being a website designer, you probably wish you could spend more time designing websites and less time managing workflows, and clients. I know I do. What if I told you there is one builder that claims to do both? Introducing Sitejet.
Sitejet was the result of the efforts of a team of website designers to overcome the shortcomings of most conventional CMSs (Content Mangement Systems), according to founder Hendrik Köhler. It’s a platform that combines a user-friendly drag-and-drop builder, project management tools, and customer relations into a single service.
Now, that service is available for website designers like you and me to streamline our working time and, hopefully, increase our earnings.
That’s a lot to promise, especially from a smaller company.
One thing that Sitejet doesn’t lack is bravado. This platform doesn’t shrink away from drawing comparisons with the biggest name in the game — WordPress. And, it’s clear that they like their chances — claiming to improve your productivity by up to 50%.
Looking past their confident marketing pitch, are they challenging out of their league, or are they the little CMS that could? Their most outstanding features show that they just might be up for the task:
- Collaboration and workflow tools that involve both peers and clients
- A customer portal that can be white-labeled with your branding
- Managed hosting features like SSL certificates, CDN, staging, and more
Professional and Relevant Templates, But Not a Lot of Options
Currently, Sitejet has around 60 or 70 templates that you can use for free with any plan. This number is still a ways behind many of their competitors, and if you’re a designer, you’ve probably already started counting down the time until you are out of fresh templates to use. However, it’s still early days, and the number of templates should grow along with the Sitejet platform.
A chat with customer support did reveal that they have multiple templates in the pipeline, meaning you could expect to see new ones at any time.
As you can’t import or use any third-party templates, it’s not clear how Sitejet is planning on competing with WordPress in this regard. If you take into account free, premium, and third-party templates for WordPress, there are tens of thousands for you to choose from.
Despite not having strength in numbers, Sitejet’s templates do cover a decent range of industry niches. And these are not just the usual standard niches offered by most other website builders; in fact, the templates also cover interesting niches that cater to a more contemporary crowd, such as coffee bars (Keola), coworking spaces (Cubicle), and networking groups or meetups (Evento).
If you want to start from a clean slate, you can choose a blank template. And you can even customize a template and save that as a new template for future use.
As for the actual look and feel of the templates, Sitejet does a decent job. I wouldn’t say that any templates immediately blew me away from a design perspective. Sitejet also seems to favor designs with darker color schemes, similar to those of Squarespace aimed at working professionals.
However, if you look through them, you’ll see expertly put together pages with high-quality, relevant demo content in the forms of images, videos, and blurbs. Whether it’s the cozy and warm ‘Porters Pub’ template, or the stately ‘Justitia’ — Sitejet seems to know how to capture a mood.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing that the designs are quite simple either, as this keeps the templates versatile and easy to make your own.
Also, the fact that the templates are simplistic doesn’t necessarily mean they’re boring, as they use plenty of cool design elements like animations, hover effects, sticky menus, different menu types, counters, and more.
You can customize any of the templates using Sitejet’s drag-and-drop editor. Since the templates make use of a relatively simple grid layout, customizing your website’s design mostly involves moving elements around to different parts of the grid. This is a straightforward system, but it doesn’t provide as much freedom as Wix’s pixel-perfect drag-and-drop interface.
However, you should find the customization options are more than adequate for your needs when it comes to text and image formatting, animations, and sizing. And if that’s not enough, you can always add custom code to any template.
All the templates are fully responsive to a number of mobile screen sizes. There are options to view your designs in multiple Apple or Android display dimensions. You can also customize your templates while they’re in a mobile preview to see the effects of your changes live.
Build More Websites in Less Time with Sitejet
As soon as you log into the Sitejet dashboard, you’ll be greeted with a panel with charts and statistics detailing the progress of all your current projects as well as your monthly performance. This is a great feature in itself that will motivate you. It shows just how central your productivity is to the Sitejet experience.
This dashboard is also a great introduction to Sitejet’s project management and collaboration tools, which are what make the platform truly stand out from the competitors.
Powerful, User-Friendly Drag-and-Drop Builder
If you take web design seriously, you’ll love Sitejet’s drag-and-drop builder. I wouldn’t call it the most user-friendly builder I’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely one of the most feature-rich. It’s sure to give web professionals all the tools they need to express themselves and build functional sites.
Sure, the drag-and-drop functionality might not be pixel-perfect like it is on Wix, but with Sitejet, you get even more settings to customize elements on your page in terms of resizing, adjusting margins, styling the content, etc. If you’re a professional website builder, the much deeper styling options and the ease of adding custom code will allow you to really flex your design muscles.
Collaboration and Workflow Features
This is what separates Sitejet from most similar website builders, and even goes beyond what many premium managed hosts offer. The platform offers comprehensive tools to let you collaborate both within a team and with clients.
One of the most helpful project-management tools is the workflows which you, team members, and clients can use to move a website through various stages. While you’re building your website it will be in the “Creation” phase. When you’re happy with your work and want feedback from your client, you can move it to the “Audit” phase. Once they’ve looked it over, they can move it to the “Feedback” phase while you work with them to address any needed changes.
The customer portal allows you to notify clients when you need them to take any action. And, they’ll even be able to edit the website directly within the limits you created.
But what really makes this system tick is the built-in to-do lists and change requests systems integrated into each website project. These allow you, clients, and team members to share information and keep your projects on track across their production lifecycle.
Automatic Website Generator
This is a great tool to help you get a jump start building your client’s website. Through the Customer Portal, a client can provide all their visual and written content. When you’re ready, you can generate a website with a single click, which will automatically import all the customer’s content into the layout.
This can save you a lot of time, because you won’t have to add in all the content manually. Instead, you can just skip ahead and start moving content around to fit the end product you’re looking for.
To provide a truly professional, tailored experience for your customers, you can customize your Sitejet dashboard with your own branding. Options include changing the colors, adding your logo, and running your dashboard on a custom domain.
Sitejet does this in a really interesting way. You can set up a “Customer Portal” where your customer will log in to view your progress or access the website you’re building for them.
Get Meaningful Client Feedback
If trying to decipher your clients’ emails has ever left you feeling frustrated, then Sitejet has a very unique feature that might be the answer to your prayers. Web designers can send their clients a link to the feedback tool where the customer can click on elements of the websites and add their feedback as a comment. This comment is visible in the website menu if you click on to-dos and also within the CMS. In the CMS you can click on the to-dos and the tool opens the page and scrolls directly to the element so that the web designer knows exactly what he has to change.
There is also a feature that allows you to send a website to a client for review, where you can mark certain parts of the pages as “editable content.” Your client can then make their own changes to these areas — showing you exactly what it is that they want. You can then either reject or accept their changes or refine them to meet your standards. This is how client feedback should work!
To really make sure you have enough time to take advantage of all these features, Sitejet takes care of all the nitty-gritty of hosting for you, such as:
● SSL certificates
● Automatic backups
● Multi-language websites
● Email hosting
Ease of use
Complex Features with Beginner Ease-of-Use
- You get a polished, sleek, and clean website management dashboard that’s very easy to navigate and does a good job of presenting what could be complex tools in a simple way.
- The “Business Center” is a superb dashboard that helps you get a quick overview of your progress across multiple website projects, feedback from clients, and your revenue with handy graphics.
- There’s a useful step-by-step “getting started” wizard for the drag-and-drop builder that helps you ease into it and shows you how to use its more advanced CMS features.
- You can’t miss the to-do lists, workflows, and other project management tools for each website. They are positioned in a way that makes them very quick and easy to use.
- Allowing clients to make edits right on the website you are building for them helps avoid misunderstandings and wasting time when asking for client feedback.
- I would have liked Sitejet to provide the same level of guidance on using their dashboard as they did for their website builder.
- The drag-and-drop builder is one of the more complex I’ve come across, with a huge number of options and multiple levels to navigate through to get to certain settings.
When I first logged into Sitejet, it didn’t take me long to find my feet. The interface is exceptionally clean, and combined with its straightforward navigation — it almost feels like it takes you wherever you want to go, with no clutter to distract you along the way. Simple layouts and illustrative icons help guide you around. If you want a dashboard that saves you time and effort — this is it.
My only complaint about Sitejet’s dashboard is that there is no introductory wizard, like the drag-and-drop builder has. Having that would have made the onboarding process that much smoother and quicker for me.
The drag-and-drop builder is slightly more complex than some other website builders, like Weebly. However, this is mostly due to the powerful features it provides for professional designers and developers, such as custom coding, intensive page management, etc. That being said, as far as website builders go, Sitejet makes it very easy to add custom code to your website pages.
Sitejet Helps You Help Yourself
Sitejet offers both email and live chat support. There are no hours listed on the website, but you can expect delayed responses for out-of-office-hour support queries according to European working hours. Online chat also isn’t always available.
Support usually replies within two or three hours after you send an email. This isn’t great, but it’s still reasonable for email support.
The support representatives are usually friendly and helpful. I like it when a support rep can provide all the most crucial info I need, without getting too wordy and taking up too much of my time. This support representative was friendly, timely, and told me exactly what I needed to know:
Links to the help desk are easy to find throughout the dashboard and builder. There’s also a chat widget that shows up when live chat is available:
However, even when live chat appears to be available, sometimes it turns out that it actually isn’t:
If you’re more of a fix-it-yourselfer, like me, then Sitejet has very comprehensive self-help resources. There are also plenty of step-by-step and getting started guides that really take you through a process, instead of just articles with walls of text.
The video tutorials are especially useful to help you learn how the platform works, how to build websites using the builder, and more. Each tutorial is around three to ten minutes, and there’s a very informative 25-minute demo video as well.
The builder also features the following wizard that will guide you through the most important aspects of the editor:
Unfortunately, Sitejet’s live support doesn’t quite live up to the quality of the rest of the service. The main issue, as far as I can tell, seems to be a case of too many customers, too little staff. However, this problem might also be addressed as Sitejet continues to grow.
Sitejet does offer a Slack group where they can help and offer user-to-user support. Another cool Sitejet feature is that you can schedule a one-on-one demo with a support representative. You can set a time and date and someone from Sitejet’s support staff will take you on a tour of the platform. This also includes a demo of how to use the drag-and-drop builder to build your first website.
Pricing that Starts Cheap but Can Spiral Up Quickly
Sitejet offers three packages as well as a 14-day free trial that gives you access to the mid-tier “Team” plan’s features.
The “Team” plan and the higher-tier “Agency” plan come with extra features, such as website export, multi-user permissions, white-label tools, and API access — mostly useful for agencies or teams. There’s a much cheaper Professional plan that doesn’t have these features.
Despite the huge leap in price, the only difference between the Agency and Team plans is that you can create ten users instead of three.
The only add-on you can pay for is the ability to host additional websites, billed monthly. Each website costs as much as a Professional plan, which is quite steep. All plans include only one free hosted website per account, which means you’ll probably have to pay for extras if you have multiple customers. You can create multiple websites for free, but you need to pay to host them.
There are monthly plans and discounted annual plans. If you pay annually, you can get additional hosted websites at a discounted price as well.